Wilder by Far

A look at life with the Wilder family. Updated most weekends and some vacation days. You can contact me at movingnorth@gmail.com..

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Sunday, April 09, 2006

"With this axe, I rule!" - Kevin Sorbo, Kull the Conqueror

With luck, we're starting on next year's supply of firewood. Reality says we're not done yet. Maybe we can burn some virgins on the solstice to keep warm.

The Boy and I worked today. Oh, it wasn’t horrendous work, like lugging around Angelina Jolie’s lips or toting around Brad Pitt’s ego, but it was work nonetheless. Okay, I didn’t consider it work at all, but really more of a fun hobby.

What was it?

Cutting wood. I know that sounds dull and tedious, but for me on a weekend there’s little that can compare to taking my chainsaw and lopping off a batch of wood. It’s stress relief without comparison. Someone bugging you at work? You can cut them into itty bitty pieces without fear of police interference or being the subject of a “Silence of the Lambs” type movie, since you’re actually just cutting a log up. Bank have you irritated? Cut the crap out of high interest rates!

In the end, you can turn your frustrations into firewood (hence warmth for the family) with only minor aches and pains. For the longest time, this was a solo activity. I’d cut the wood. Then, The Mrs. joined me. I’d cut it, she’d stack it. Since she has high standards for wood stacking, it was nice that she’d do it. Today, however, The Boy acted like a man. Is that important?

The Mrs. and I were watching Kull the Conqueror with The Boy yesterday, and she remarked that one of the best things about that movie (it’s really better than any of the Conan movies) is that it has Kevin Sorbo.

I was momentarily miffed. I am certainly as big and strong as Sorbo, and if weren’t for him, you know, working out for a living, I could be as ripped as well. Propecia could take care of the rest. I mentioned that.

“It’s not that,” The Mrs. continued. “It’s that he’s manly.”

She hesitated a scant moment, anticipating my upcoming whine. “You’re manly. I like that.”

As I took long pieces of wood and cut them into smaller pieces, The Boy first prepared by going and getting the wheelbarrow, then by filling it up with the pieces that I had thrown into the pile of cut, but not yet stacked wood. After filling the wheelbarrow, he then took the remaining pieces and stacked them on the ever-growing row of wood. He was doing work that was necessary without being asked, cajoled, or threatened.

Later, he also learned the wages of a man who does work without fear of being sent to the corner. Autonomy. Want ranch dressing on your steak? (I don’t, but he did.) You can have it. Want to dig into the peanut butter covered Ritz Cracker Bites? Dig in. You earned that, too.

The one fear that I’ve had is that I won’t be able to instill into my sons the satisfaction of doing work just because it needs to be done. Work well done should be its own reward for a man. Period. The Boy has learned that. He looked back on the wood we’d stacked and said, “We did a good job, Dad. What’s next?”

Kevin Sorbo, eat your heart out.


Blogger Uncle Crappy said...

I miss a Thanksgiving-weekend ritual my father and I practiced for years: Finding a nearly dead tree in the neighborhood and reducing it to more than enough firewood for an entire Columbus, Ohio-type winter. Since I've been living in apartments for decades, I no longer have access to the simple pleasures of cutting firewood or even running a lawn mower. The best approximation? Uhhh ... vacuuming?

8:59 PM  
Blogger Woofwoof said...

What a heartwarming story! But leave the virgins alone (There aren't that many left).

9:01 PM  
Blogger Erin said...

What an great story. Well told.

10:36 PM  
Blogger Duck Hunter said...

2 questions.
1. Can I send my son to your summer work camp?

2. How long will your supply of lumber last until you have to move?

1:42 AM  
Blogger Garry Nixon said...

The smell of log fires on a cold day - wondrous. You're lucky there.

But surely The Boy is eying the chainsaw with an I-could-do-that kind of look?

2:05 AM  
Blogger Joann said...

Yes, Mr Sorbo defines courage and strength. With your help The Boy will be on his way to the same definition.

10:21 AM  
Blogger John said...

uncle crappy,
I would think that if you would cut down a tree in the neighborhood, and then burn it in your apartment, you'd get all of the excitement of that old ritual and more. Especially if you didn't have a fireplace.

Okay . . . hmmm. See, now after living with a chainsaw, I just can't imagine not. That would probably enliven apartment life, too.

From now on, only on the solstice, and not the equinox, too. That saves 50% of them!

Sorry about the heartwarming part. I'm attempting to avoid the "very special episode" syndrome.

Thanks, but The Boy helped!

1. Yes. I have as many holes to be dug as I will have to fill.

2. I've got my eye on another patch of trees . . . I've used about (guessing) 220 MILLION Btus this winter. (really)

Actually, we get spoiled, we get it 8 months of the year . . .

He is. We have a crappy electric chainsaw that he wanted to bring out and use himself. I put the kibosh on that one in no uncertain terms. I may be irresponsible, but a five year old with a working chainsaw even makes me shiver.

Thank you - that was wonderfully put and a laudable goal. He impresses me on a regular basis, and a lot of it seems to be him being him, not me pounding it into him.

9:06 PM  
Blogger Matt Shields said...

yes, I am fond of winter fires, still...I think it was gary who said 'smell of logs on cold winter day, you're lucky'... yes, and no. of course the grass IS always greener on the other side of the snowberm.

when we only had wood heat I used to have to cut enough wood that I used to dread the winter fireplace...if I was short on the woodpile then it was off to the beaches (this was in southeast) to drag up saltwater logged logs (great for the inside of your stovepipe)

of course with these I used the chainsaw and the fun began, but nowhere near as fun as loading rounds into the log splitter (unless they're the dreaded cottonwood)

now that it has been a year away from such chores, ya know, it does sound romantic again!

9:44 PM  

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